My last post was 5 Must-Know Technology Trends That Will Drive Retail Business In 2013. Today's piece, which was part of the original article about Technology Trends for 2013, in Retail Touchpoints, takes a look at how the "Tech Titans" - Amazon, Apple, eBay, Facebook and Google - have grown - using mobile technology - to eclipse retail competiton. Lori Schafer, SAS Retail Executive Advisor, reminds us that these "Tech Titans" all started as sites with a specific focus. Now all have branched out to new venues, new contact with consumers, new ploys for enticing customers (and retailers) to use their offerings, and, oh yeah, to compete and make more money.
Sun Tzu (and The Godfather quoting Sun Tzu) said: Keep your friends close -- and your enemies closer, presumably meaning, always know what your enemies are up to so they don't take you by surprise. While you may not seek (or be able) to compete or come anywhere close to emulating these businesses, you've got to know what's happening in the retail competitive marketplace to do the best job for yourself.
Each of the Tech Titans began by serving special niches. Remember when… Apple built and sold personal computers? Google was a search site? Amazon was an eCommerce retailer? eBay did online auctions? And Facebook was a social network?
Now these Tech Titans are using mobile technology to expand their venues and their pocketbooks, and, oh yeah, their competitive business -- to eclipse the competition.
* One example of a Tech Titan's mobile innovation is Apple’s iStore payment system, which Schafer views as "the best omnichannel retailer in business today." With iStore, a customer can walk into a retail store, scan the barcode on a product using their phone’s camera, pay through an iTunes account, and walk out with the purchase, skipping all traditional check-out procedures and staff.
*eBay has shelled out $5 Billion in recent acquisitions to invest in mobile technology. eBay's PayPal system is one area showing mobile promise, and eBay also is piloting a same-day delivery service that uses mobile technology, says Schafer.
*Home Depot, one of the largest traditional retailers, now offers a PayPal “mobile wallet” option at every check-out counter in each of its stores, with twenty other retailers poised to follow in The Home Depot’s footsteps, according to Schafer.
*Facebook is becoming more mobile friendly, notes Schaefer, pointing out that this social network company has amassed an unequaled treasure chest of consumer sentiment data at a pace unknown by more traditional ratings- and sentiment-tracking companies. So Facebook is poised to cash in on its valuable consumer data cache with marketing and advertising companies that want to reach consumers through all communication channels.
"The Tech Titans are reinventing and breaking all the rules for retail, communications, financial services, entertainment, travel and technology services as we knew them." There's much much more just under the surface that reveals itself every day.
And mobile technologies are especially important to their success.
Finally, remember also that The Titans need customers, i.e. retailers -- and they incite retailers to jump on their bandwagon -- or miss opportunities -- to engage discerning consumers who will seek out the competition -- often from the showrooming convenience of a mobile device — especially if that customer's expectations aren’t quickly met.
What would you do? Thanks. Gilon.